As a result of the Covid pandemic, many people have had their weddings plans crashed, but how about weddings in 2021?
With Boris’s anouncment this week and the UK going into another lockdown it seems that many more people’s wedding plans may again have to be postponed!
This has been a truly distressing time for lots of people. Huge amounts of time and money have been spent working out what is meant to be one of the best days of their lives, only to have them dashed, delayed and devistated by Covid.
Some people have already gone ahead with pared down wedding celebrations. Others have cancelled and rebooked whole day events in the hope that things will return to some semblance of normality by the following year. Whatever your situation, you will undoubtedly have had to make adjustments and this can be a very unsettling time. Indeed, it can lead to mixed feelings which you don’t know what to do with.
Grief is not exclusive to those who are bereaved!
Bereavement means quite simply, loss. Many might feel it to be disingenuous to feel grief when not associated with the loss of a person. However, it has been long agreed by psychologists that grief can be associated with the loss of many things. These include jobs, homes, connections and even long expected events such as weddings!
If you’re struggling with your emotions, it could be grief
So, the reality is, if you are struggling with a bunch of mixed emotions following the cancellation of your wedding, you are probably suffering from grief. Grief at the loss of something you had been working towards with hopes and expectations. Hope of a wonderful day with all the elements you had painstakingly worked out you wanted. The involvement of many of your family and friends. Music carefully chosen and vows wisely and creatively written.
Anticipation of the ceremony, the flowers, the speeches, the food, the fun, the commitment and laughter. All witnessed by those who mean the most to you. Now, all that has either been taken from you completely or you have at least had to readjust your thinking. Given up some of your ideas and perhaps organised a different celebration altogether. You may have had to postpone the whole day and move it to another time, this can still leave you with immense feelings of loss.
Mixed feelings which are hard to bear!
Grief has many guises which is why it is often hard to pin down but make no mistake, the feelings are real and can be hard to deal with!
The plethora of feelings can be anything from frustration and annoyance to utter shock and disbelief coupled with anger and sadness. Feeling heartbroken, stressed and fearful of what might or might not be possible moving forward. Changing rules and regulations around Covid makes it a very unsettling time and this in itself brings feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. None of us like change and over the past year many of us have had to alter numerous things about our lives.
Invalidated feelings can become complicated!
Whilst some brides and grooms may be feeling that their emotions are not valid as it is “just their wedding day” this is to deny their feelings and to suppress them at what is a very difficult time. True, others may have had very stressful experiences – loss of jobs, homes and even lost loved ones due to the pandemic. However, this should not negate the feelings felt by those who were due to wed at this time and have had to readjust their thinking and plans to accommodate the virus.
If the feelings are not acknowledged they can be turned inward and try to find expression there, often becoming sadness and depression. These debilitating and very commonly associated feelings can be hard to shake off. Your loss is your loss, regardless of what others around you are experiencing. Ignoring your feelings and trying to minimise their impact on you is to deny yourself the chance to grieve for your loss.
What can you do when you are grieving for your wedding day?
First things first, acknowledge those feelings – admit you are angry you can’t have your wedding. Sad that it’s not going to take place in the way you wanted. Annoyed at all the time you had spent arranging things which are now on hold and may still have to change. Acknowledge how stressful this time is. Stress is made worse when things feel out of our control. This can lead to anxiety. Seek out the things you can control. Even small things can go some way to help you gain some level of self-efficacy and this in turn will make you feel less stressed.
Ways to cope with Covid wedding grief
If you don’t have someone to listen to your feelings, then start a journal – write it all down. Mark the loss symbolically, write a sympathetic or angry letter to yourself then either burn it, lock it in a box or post it to yourself to receive in a few days’ time.
Mark the day of your postponed wedding with your partner, take time out to have a romantic meal. Make this an opportunity to listen to one another about your shared loss. This might be a golden opportunity to bring you even closer together!
Distance yourself from friends or family who may not be helping in the way they are dealing with your situation. More often than not it won’t be a deliberate attempt to annoy you but merely misguided support. Your friends and family will be trying to help even though it may not feel like it at times! Be kind to yourself.
Once you have acknowledged your feelings you can begin the process of coming to terms with the changes.
In a changing world it helps to concentrate on the unchangeable
Think of what has not changed and is unchangeable – your love for your partner! Many couples may find that the situation will strengthen their relationship. Reflecting in years to come how the pandemic brought them into a deeper relationship with one another.
However, it is inevitable there will be postponed wedding casualties which won’t stand the test of time. The pandemic is bound to highlight misgivings within any relationship. In these cases, it will be an upsetting time but if it brings truth to the surface, in the long term it may well be a blessing in disguise!
Overall, most people will come through this stronger and more deeply in love than before. They will have a greater understanding of how their partner copes in a crisis. One thing is for sure, Covid may well have robbed people of their wedding plans this year but it can’t take away the true love they feel for one another!
If you have been affected by anything in this blog or you have alternative coping strategies which others might find helpful, please do get in touch – I’d love to hear from you.